Is Your Wallet Dragging You Down?

This post Is Your Wallet Dragging You Down? appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

In mid-2000, one of the most successful advertising campaigns running was Capital One’s “What’s In Your Wallet?”

Remember the commercials?

The first year the ads ran, Capital One total US accounts went from 29MM to over 40MM, and card consideration among consumers tripled!

This was the first time ever Capital One executed a sustained advertising campaign and they knocked it out of the park.

But if they were to launch the same campaign today, the ads might be a little different…

Instead of “What’s In Your Wallet?” they might be better off saying “What’s In Your Phone?”

We’re at a point now where you can safely leave your credit cards at home and pay for almost everything with your mobile device in store.

If you own a smartphone and have the right apps downloaded, you no longer need to carry around most of the things in your wallet.

Not convinced?

Another reason you should consider emptying your wallet is for your health. Up to 85% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their life. For many men, a common cause is sitting on your wallet.

If you’re ready to thin out your wallet, here’s what can go first.

  1. Credit Cards

There are several stores and restaurants that accept mobile payments instead of cash or credit cards.

All you have to do is download the mobile app and link one or more of your credit card accounts. You pay by tapping, this transmits a payment code via near-field communication (NFC) technology to the retail terminal.

The security measures are similar to using a chip card. Mobile wallets you can trust:

Apple Pay
Google Pay

Samsung Pay

  1. Checks

When was the last time you wrote a check?

There are easier and less cumbersome ways of transferring money to people now. Most mobile banking apps allow you to send money from your bank account to anyone simply by using their email address or username.

Using a money transfer app means no more carrying around checks in your wallet. These are some popular money transfer apps:

Venmo
Cash App
Dwolla
PayPal
Google Pay
Facebook Messenger

  1. Coupons

Unless you actually like cutting coupons, there’s an easier way to take advantage of all the savings.

Couponing apps and other cash back apps can replace all your paper coupons, freeing up a lot of wallet space.

Here a few coupon apps you should have on your phone:

Coupons.com
Ebates
Flipp
Ibotta
Checkout 51
Krazy Coupon Lady
RetailMeNot

  1. Loyalty Cards

Almost every store you go to now has its own customer loyalty card with perks and discounts. Carrying all these cards is not only annoying and bulky but unnecessary.

Since most stores can look up your store loyalty account using your phone number, you really don’t need to carry the card around in your wallet.

But if you really want a way to store your loyalty cards that’s convenient so the cashier doesn’t have to look up your account every time, try one of these apps:

Stocard
Key Ring

  1. Contact Info

Another culprit of wallet bulk is business cards and small pieces of paper with important information written down — addresses, phone numbers, travel rewards program account numbers, etc.

You don’t need to carry stuff like this around and risk losing it or having it stolen.

You can store all this kind of information with access to it any time through a few digital apps:

Google Keep
Sec Notes
ABBYY Business Card Reader

  1. Insurance Cards

Car insurance, health, dental, and vision policy cards can all be stored on your smartphone. The best way to capture these cards is to take photos of each one, front and back.

You can organize these cards in a folder on your phone for easy lookup. And if you’re worried you won’t be able to read the numbers on the cards, don’t forget you can zoom in on the photos easily.

  1. Photos

Speaking of pictures, wallet-sized photos of your family are great but you’re limited to how many can fit comfortably in your wallet.

New phones have enough storage now to keep thousands of photos on hand. Don’t settle for only a few photos when you can store whole albums in your pocket.

Good cloud storage apps for photos are:

Google Photos
Prime Photos

  1. Receipts

If you travel a lot for business, you might find yourself storing paper receipts in your wallet to keep track of all your expenses.

Not only is this annoying to have to store a bunch of receipts in your wallet, the paper and ink typically rubs off making reading the receipts near impossible.

A better solution is to download a receipt organizer app. Here are few to check out:

Expensify
Shoeboxed

These are just a few things you can store on your smartphone to free up space in your wallet, saving you the hassle and back pain.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

The post Is Your Wallet Dragging You Down? appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

How to Maximize Your 401(K)

This post How to Maximize Your 401(K) appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Does your employer offer a 401(k) plan? And do they match any of your contributions?

If so, they might only match up to that percentage on each of your checks, and not on how that check amount relates to your total annual salary. 

That means deferring too much, too soon of your salary could reduce the amount of those matching contributions.

Here’s an example of how that could happen:

In 2019, you can contribute up to $19,000 of your salary to a 401(k) plus another $6,000 if you are 50 or older for a potential total of $25,000.

Suppose you are 60, just got a fat bonus from last year or maybe your spouse started a new job that includes a hefty pay increase.

Now you have cash to spare and decide to max out your tax-deductible contributions to your 401(k) within the first six months of the year. Then you’ll have the remaining six months to sock away money for a nice vacation over the holidays.

Let’s assume your salary is $75,000 and you are paid twice a month ($3,125). To reach your goal of front-loading your 401(k) by June 30, you’ll have to contribute $2,083 per pay period ($25,000 ÷ 12). 

And say your employer matches the first 6% of your salary that you contribute each pay period to your retirement plan. That comes to $187.50 ($3,125 x 6%).

Therefore, for the six months you contributed to the plan, your employer put in $2,250.

So far so good. Except for this…

You’ll Miss Out on More Free Money!

The remaining six months of the year you aren’t contributing to your 401(k), which was your goal. But neither is your employer.

Gone is the free money… $2,250 to be exact.

Over many years that can add up, especially when you figure the returns you might earn on those matches. 

However,

You Might Be in Luck…

Your 401(k) could have a true-up match.

This optional feature allows you to receive the maximum employer match even if you’ve reached the maximum deferral amount prior to the end of the year.

In other words, an employer-sponsored retirement plan that has the true-match arrangement doesn’t care when you hit the annual cap.

When Front-Loading Could Make Sense

Without an employer match, front-loading your 401(k) is worth considering since your money will have the opportunity to benefit faster from compounded, tax-free growth.

It could also make sense if you are retiring, as this will be the last opportunity to put away more tax-favored money for your golden years.

And even if you are going to another job that has a retirement plan, there might be a waiting period at your new employer before you can participate. 

Don’t Be Too Eager To Fill Up That 401(K) Bucket Early In The Year

As you can see, there’s no absolute right or wrong answer on whether front-loading is the right choice for you.

Before you do it though, first check with your HR department.

Ask:

  1. What is the match formula?
  2. How often are matches made… per pay period, monthly, quarterly, or annually?
  3. Is there a true-up provision?

Then run the calculations.

If you find that you’re going to fall into a deferring-too-much-too-fast trap that will cost you down the road, simply cut back on the amount you are deferring so it’s spread throughout the year.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post How to Maximize Your 401(K) appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

8 Ways to Spring Clean Your Wallet

This post 8 Ways to Spring Clean Your Wallet appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

In mid-2000, one of the most successful advertising campaigns running was Capital One’s “What’s In Your Wallet?”

Remember the commercials?

The first year the ads ran, Captial One total US accounts went from 29MM to over 40MM and card consideration among consumers tripled! 

This was the first time ever Capital One executed a sustained advertising campaign and they knocked it out of the park.

But if they were to launch the same campaign today, the ads might be a little different…

Instead of “What’s In Your Wallet?” they might be better off saying “What’s In Your Phone?”

We’re at a point now where you can safely leave your credit cards at home and pay for almost everything with your mobile device in store.

If you own a smartphone and have the right apps downloaded, you no longer need to carry around most of the things in your wallet.

Not convinced?

Another reason you should consider emptying your wallet is for your health. Up to 85% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their life. For many men, a common cause is sitting on your wallet.

If you’re ready to thin out your wallet, here’s what can go first.

1. Credit Cards

There are several stores and restaurants that accept mobile payments instead of cash or credit cards.

All you have to do is download the mobile app and link one or more of your credit card accounts. You pay by tapping, this transmits a payment code via near-field communication (NFC) technology to the retail terminal.

The security measures are similar to using a chip card. Mobile wallets you can trust:

Apple Pay

Google Pay

Samsung Pay

2. Checks

When was the last time you wrote a check?

There are easier and less cumbersome ways of transferring money to people now. Most mobile banking apps allow you to send money from your bank account to anyone simply by using their email address or username.

Using a money transfer app means no more carrying around checks in your wallet. These are some popular money transfer apps:

Venmo

Cash App

Dwolla

PayPal

Google Pay

Facebook Messenger

3. Coupons

Unless you actually like cutting coupons, there’s an easier way to take advantage of all the savings.

Couponing apps and other cash back apps can replace all your paper coupons, freeing up a lot of wallet space.

Here a few coupon apps you should have on your phone:

Coupons.com

Ebates

Flipp

Ibotta

Checkout 51

Krazy Coupon Lady

RetailMeNot

4. Loyalty Cards

Almost every store you go to now has its own customer loyalty card with perks and discounts. Carrying all these cards is not only annoying and bulky but unnecessary.

Since most stores can look up your store loyalty account using your phone number, you really don’t need to carry the card around in your wallet.

But if you really want a way to store your loyalty cards that’s convenient so the cashier doesn’t have to look up your account every time, try one of these apps:

Stocard

Key Ring

5. Contact Info

Another culprit of wallet bulk is business cards and small pieces of paper with important information written down — addresses, phone numbers, travel rewards program account numbers, etc.

You don’t need to carry stuff like this around and risk losing it or having it stolen.

You can store all this kind of information with access to it any time through a few digital apps:

Google Keep

Sec Notes

ABBYY Business Card Reader

6. Insurance Cards

Car insurance, health, dental, and vision policy cards can all be stored on your smartphone. The best way to capture these cards is to take photos of each one, front and back.

You can organize these cards in a folder on your phone for easy lookup. And if you’re worried you won’t be able to read the numbers on the cards, don’t forget you can zoom in on the photos easily. 

7. Photos

Speaking of pictures, wallet-sized photos of your family are great but you’re limited to how many can fit comfortably in your wallet.

New phones have enough storage now to keep thousands of photos on hand. Don’t settle for only a few photos when you can store whole albums in your pocket.

Good cloud storage apps for photos are:

Google Photos

Prime Photos

8. Receipts

If you travel a lot for business, you might find yourself storing paper receipts in your wallet to keep track of all your expenses.

Not only is this annoying to have to store a bunch of receipts in your wallet, the paper and ink typically rubs off making reading the receipts near impossible.

A better solution is to download a receipt organizer app. Here are few to check out:

Expensify

Shoeboxed

These are just a few things you can store on your smartphone to free up space in your wallet, saving you the hassle and back pain.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post 8 Ways to Spring Clean Your Wallet appeared first on Daily Reckoning.